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New Takata airbag recall triggered, BMW tells owners to park their cars

This new issue has produced one known fatality in Australia, and the issue also affects Audi, Honda, Toyota and Mitsubishi.

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Yet another Takata airbag issue has cropped up.

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German luxury car maker BMW has told owners to park certain 1999 3 Series models and filed documents to recall thousands more after a newly discovered Takata airbag issue surfaced.

In documents BMW filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the carmaker recommended drivers park nearly 8,000 1999 323i and 328i models. These cars may feature a non-azide driver airbag inflator, which Takata produced for BMW. This specific inflator may not contain stabilized ammonium nitrate (PSAN) propellant, and without it, moisture could cause the airbag to explode or under inflate in the event of a crash.

Like previous Takata issues, an explosion may spray the driver and passenger with shrapnel and increases the risk of injury.

The serious issue came to light after a driver in Australia was injured from the airbag in a 2000 BMW 3 Series, though an investigation uncovered the inflator came from a 1998 model in a salvage yard. A second incident resulted in the death of a driver in Australia, who drove a 1998 3 Series. Both parts were made in 1998, which would make them part of 1999 models in the US, if you're wondering about the date discrepancy.

Total, the most serious issue affects 7,910 323i and 328is from 1999. Two additional recalls cover 74,000 3 Series models from the 1999-2001 model years and another 34,000 3 Series coupes from the 1999-2000 model years. The group of 74,000 cars may have received a faulty airbag replacement during a repair in the past, and could house the defect. The population of 34,000 cars simply weren't made with the correct Takata inflator. 

All of the affected cars will need to go back to the dealership where a technician will inspect the airbag inflators to see if they are flawed. If so, owners will get new airbag inflators as needed, free of charge. Unfortunately, there's no time frame for when the parts will be available. BMW said it believes a fix will be ready next year and it's not aware of any injuries in the US. Notices started mailing out to owners on Dec. 2.

NHTSA told Roadshow that BMW isn't alone. About 1.4 million cars are affected total. Specifically, it named Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi and Audi as other brands affected. So far, none of these automakers have filed recalls yet.

Audi said in a statement it's currently investigating if any of its cars are affected. So far, it's not aware of any. Toyota told Roadshow it's also investigating the issue, while Honda said in a statement it's "currently evaluating the potential effect on Honda and Acura vehicles from the 1996 to 2000 model years." The latter added it will act "quickly in the interest of our customers' safety" if needed.

While NHTSA named the 1998-2000 Mitsubishi Montero as an affected model, Mitsubishi declined to comment on its mention. It did, however, tell Roadshow it "has not received any quality reports related to this recall matter." "Therefore, we are currently identifying which models are involved, and in which countries, while studying the issue technically."

Faulty Takata airbags have been linked to 24 deaths and hundreds of injuries around the world with the issue affecting numerous car manufacturers. The company has since filed for bankruptcy and been absorbed by Key Safety Systems, called Joysen Safety Systems today.

Originally published Dec. 5, 12:03 p.m. PT.
Update, 12:49 p.m.: Adds statements from Toyota, Honda and Mitsubishi.

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